Peddling may be on the way out in township

FLINT TWP. — After denying an application for a peddlers permit — the third in the past six weeks or so — the township board is looking into doing away with door-to-door sales altogether.

The previous two requests narrowly won approval in a 4-3 vote.

After a 5-2 vote at its meeting last week to deny a request from Infinity Home Improvement of Wyoming, the board discussion turned to proposing an ordinance amendment to disallow doorto door sales, AKA peddling.

Trustee George Menoutes called it “a good idea.” He cast one of the five dissenting votes out of concern for senior citizens who do not like strangers coming to their door, he said.

Jim McClung, a member of the township parks and recreation advisory committee, made similar comments during public comment.

“In these times we are living, you just can’t trust people,’’ he said. ”What if you approve this person and some con artist caught on and made up a fake name tag. Next thing you know you’ve got someone at a senior’s home and a (potential) problem on your hands. It is just not a good situation.”

McClung said the board needs to decide if the revenues taken in through fees is worth the risk of something bad happening.

Clerk Kim Courts who cast one of the two yes votes, said she understood his concern but also wanted to be fair to applicants. She suggested changing the ordinance to ban all peddling rather then continue to waste the time of people applying for a permit.

Infinity complied with all township requirements for the three-month license, Courts said. She added that it is unfair to put applicants though the application process, which includes fingerprinting and paying a fee, only to have the board turn them down because they don’t like it.

“If we want to be secure for our senior citizens, let’s just take peddling off (the books),” she said.

Supervisor Karyn Miller, who also voted in favor of the license application, agreed with Courts. The board should not have an ordinance saying that peddling is permitted then vote against it for no reason, she said.

Trustee Frank Kasle, also voted against the latest request, but stressed careful consideration of changing the ordinance. He cautioned against a 100 percent ban that might affect the sale of firewood, Christmas trees and Girl Scout cookies.

“We don’t want to rush into passing an ordinance,” Kasle said. “We should do it carefully.”

Miller said Courts would discuss any proposed changes with township attorney Peter Goodstein before bringing it back to the board for a vote.

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